Historical information

This patchwork cushion was handcrafted by Mary Jane Giles and is part of the Giles Collection.

There are many 19th century items of furniture, linen and crockery donated to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village by Vera and Aurelin Giles. The items are associated with the Giles Family and are known as the “Giles Collection”. These items mostly came from the simple home of Vera’s parents-in-law, Henry Giles and his wife Mary Jane (nee Freckleton), whose photos are in the parlour. They married in 1880.

Henry Giles was born at Tower Hill in 1858. He was a labourer on the construction of the Breakwater before leaving in 1895 to build bridges in N.S.W. for about seven years.

Mary Jane was born in 1860 at Cooramook. She attended Mailor’s Flat State School where she was also a student teacher before, as family legend has it, she became a governess at “Injemiara” where her grandfather, Francis Freckleton, once owned land.

Henry and Mary’s family of six, some of whom were born at Mailor’s Flat and later children at Wangoom, lived with their parents at Wangoom and Purnim west, where Henry died in 1933 and Mary Jane in 1940.


The Giles family collection has social significance at a local level, because it illustrates the level of material support the Warrnambool community gave to Flagstaff Hill when the Museum was established.

Physical description

Patchwork cushion, sausage shape. Handmade by Mrs Harry Giles (Mary Jane Giles) circa. 1898. This cushion is part of the Giles Collection.

Inscriptions & markings

Multi coloured material patchwork